Jason and me went for a ride last night. I'd planned for an easy loop round St Albans, pootling round singletrack in Batchwood, Symondsyde and points between. We had a quick look at Beech Bottom Dyke on the way to Batchwood, me scaring myself silly at the size (30 feet approx) of the drop from the trail into the earthwork. Onwards and just about upwards to the woods at Batchwood for a quick blast on the singletrack before heading off towards Harpenden and the rest of the loop. As we headed though Childwickbury we were caught up by a group of 8ish riders from one of the local shops, so we tagged along for a while, finding a couple of new linking trails through Sandridge to Symondshyde. At Symondshyde the main group was heading up towards Codicote; feeling tired I made my excuses and we headed back through the woods. Pretty much the last stretch was down a track leading onto House Lane. It's fairly smooth (apart from the collapsed badger sett half way down) and I ride it at least twice a week on the way home, so I shouldn't have had any problems..not so. Approaching the junction with the road and braking fairly hard I had an earth/sky/earth/sky moment, ending up braking with my chin as the bike flew over me and landed three or four yards further down the hill. Winded, but bike OK and no bones broken I picked myself up and we headed back to my place via the off-licence.. Woke up this morning with a few random achy bits and bruising, no big deal.
So...what did I learn?
- Commuting 20-30 mins each way every day does not give you the fitness required to keep up with the shop riders. More lard-burning miles required!
- I brake far too much in corners and need to trust the bike and flow round more.
- Don't touch the front brake on dusty fast bits!